New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.


Today’s Reflection

I think of that line from Edna St. Vincent Millay: “O World, I cannot hold thee close enough.” It is a mystery, a grace, and yet that is exactly how I suddenly feel, like I want to lift my arms to receive the world and hold it to my chest. I think of the people out there, waiting beyond the borders of the meadow, and I’m delivered again into the sweet and burning knowledge that they are mine and I am theirs.

—Sue Monk Kidd, in The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

What insight do you find in today’s reading about how to relate to others and connect with the world? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; …
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, Thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Holidays can be rough. This year is especially difficult for those whose family or plans have been affected by the pandemic. Join us to pray for those in need or share your own prayer request at The Upper Room Prayer Wall.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.


  • Martin Armstrong Posted December 15, 2020 7:54 am

    Can we not see that we are all human and loved by the same God? It seems that is all the connection we really need with each other to then work at becoming a world of grace and peace.

  • robert moeller Posted December 15, 2020 8:05 am

    My first reaction was why want to hold onto the world so close. I should be thinking of heavenly things. Reading further my perspective changed. It is the people that the speaker wants to hold so close and dear. Is it God speaking? God, of course wants to and does hold the people of the world to heart. If God does this, so should we. Despite our faults, our human nature, our ‘bent on sinning”, God loves us as we are, (hard to comprehend, but God’s ways are not our ways). This is real love, true love, the love God wants us to share with others as God loves us.
    With today’s Advent Bible study focused on love, this is a timely reflection. Wesley’s concept of “altogether love” is the goal he thinks we should be striving for.
    Thankful that vaccines are being distributed across the country, I pray those most in need receive them first.
    I need to back up and look at recent posts to catch up on what is happening in our oasis.
    Thank You, Lord, for the blessings of the day. Be safe, warm, and dry with God ever present.

  • Julie Posted December 15, 2020 8:48 am

    God time and again in His Word instructs us that He loves us and we are to love Him and one another as He loves us. That concept has not been nurtured in our nation or world lately. We as Christians need to heed the Word of God and separate ourselves from the prevailing doctrines that prevail and follow Jesus’ example. Listen to one another heart to heart.
    Prayers for Robert and I add prayers to his regarding the vaccines, may those in need of protection receive the first doses.
    Prayers for Martin and welcome.
    Prayers for Jill and her students, may they do well on their exams, demonstrating that they have learned well online.
    Prayers for Ally and David, for health and legal issues, may they be resolved.
    Prayers for Lou and her family, Rick and Scott and Marcy, may all be safe and well.
    Spent a good bit of time this morning separating Booker from Tazzie. Booker has been relentless about attacking Tazzie, no matter what I do when I catch him. I have tried to give treats when he behaves…but as he seldom does …

  • Jill Posted December 15, 2020 10:01 am

    Thinking about embracing people…my thoughts immediately go to my students. And I have a rash of emotions…longing, frustration, empathy, discouragement, tenderness, anger, gratitude. All at the same time, in varying levels. Today I see all of their beautiful faces, as they are pretty much required to have their cameras on while they take an assessment. I know so many of them are struggling in this on-line environment. I hear from multiple families how their son/daughter has changed, has become combative, distant, emotionless. It’s heartbreaking. Yesterday morning I received an email from a parent where she said that she and her husband’s relationship with their son is destroyed, as they have been on him – and he is doing nothing. He has a 9% in my class. His parents are now hoping he will be getting his GED, instead of a full ride to a college. I know of several students who are in counseling. I long, long, long to be back in the classroom with my students – where, much more than a mathematical education is earned – but confidence grows as obstacles are overcome, respect deepens and maturity flourishes. May the vaccine hasten this timing.
    The sun is trying to peak out here…but there are many clouds. Morning runs are chilly, but grateful when the wind is minimal.
    I ordered a home security system – where the set up should take “less than 30 mintues”. Yeah – not in my case. Between trying to connect my phone to the app, the devices to each other and the camera to my wi-fi…I am easily at 45 minutes, with varying success on each of the above things. I want to try to accomplish it myself, without the assistance of my techie friend. I should have made this investment years ago – but finally took the plunge. Will re-engage in the battle following classes/exams this afternoon.

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